By CAROL COMEGNO
The USS New Jersey is guided to another pier at the Broadway Terminal.
The tug Z-One tooted and churned water as it hugged the
hull of the black-and-gray battleship USS New Jersey.
With its 4,200 horsepower, the Z-One was the most powerful
of four McAllister Co. tugboats that moved the historic 61-
year-old naval warship Wednesday out of one pier and into
one 200 yards away at the Broadway Terminal of the South
Jersey Port Corp. in South Camden.
Joseph Balzano, executive director of the port corporation
and a Home Port Alliance trustee, said the corporation
wanted to vacate Pier 1 so cargo operations could resume
there. A ship carrying lumber is expected there on Friday,
"This is a big success story for the battleship and for
the port, because once the ship is gone, we will have
another pier to use for unloading cargo ships," Balzano
The battleship was snug alongside Pier H by nightfall in a
three-hour operation that was smooth but tricky.
McAllister President Frank Hessert, who was monitoring
marine radio conversations between the river pilot and the
tugs, said the tugs had to avoid underwater remnants from
the collapse of a 100-year-old pier in an area now
partially covered by a barge.
"It was a little nerve-racking, but now I'll sleep better
tonight," said Hessert, who gave the Home Port Alliance a
reduced price for the work.
The 887-foot New Jersey - several hundred feet longer than
its new 600-foot berth - will get teak for its deck, paint
and other repairs in a $6 million refurbishing to make it
into a public museum. A few volunteers were on hand
Wednesday to ease the warship into place at Pier H.
"I'm here because I'm an American and for Camden," said
Camden firefighter Joe Ante of Haddonfield, who volunteers
for repair duty on the ship and who helped handle one of
the mooring lines to secure the ship to the pier.
"I did not have the privilege of serving in the military,
and this is a way of serving my country."
The ship was pushed backward into the Delaware River from
Pier 1 near St. Lawrence Cement, then pushed 200 yards
south to the other pier.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit alliance met privately Wednesday
night at the port to discuss logistics of its first public
meeting, which will be held April 11 at the Delaware River
Port Authority headquarters. The board also was scheduled
to discuss a policy on youth volunteers aboard the ship
during the restoration period, but no details from the
meeting were immediately released.
The ship's next and final move will be to a new pier that
has yet to be constructed near the New Jersey Aquarium,
several miles farther up the Delaware River on the Camden
Waterfront. The opening of the ship is still scheduled for
Sept. 2. Although a ban on pile driving is in effect during
shad spawning season through June 30, the state will allow
the alliance to drive piles and use monitoring equipment to
detect the effect on the fish. The state will evaluate the
results of the monitoring to determine whether the ban
should remain in place for future projects.
The Eagle Marine Company of Blackwood again supplied
temporary line-handlers aboard ship and on the dock.
Accompanying them on the ship were several dozen alliance
staff members and volunteers that included some of the ship'
s former Navy crew members. Marine artist David Boone of
Oaklyn repainted some of the ship's artwork in the morning
and then took a dream-come-true trip on the ship. "It doesn'
t get any better than this," he said, smiling and standing
at a railing on the main deck as the ship moved.
The move cost an estimated $20,000, officials said.